NFL Watchability Index, Week 5: What games should you be watching this week?

Sam Greenwood

There are some pretty good games on the schedule this week. Which ones might end up being the best? Let's find out. Here's Week 5 of the Watchability Index.

There are 14 games on the docket in Week 5 with the Redskins, Buccaneers, Steelers and Vikings all taking their bye. Most of the good games are bunched in the 1 p.m. slot with only two late afternoon games. There are plenty of options to choose from. There's one divisional game with early NFC North implications, a handful of surprisingly compelling AFC matchups, and a couple of inter-conference games that could become Super Bowl previews if things break that way.

Let's break down the games this week. As usual, I'll rate on a scale of 1-5, five being the best.

Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns

8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Don't look now, but the Browns won two in a row and are tied for first place in the AFC North. The winner of this game will be 3-2, but since it's still TNF, I still have to give the standard caveat. There's every chance of it turning into a clown show.

Watchability rank: 3

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears

1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Saints' offense has been as good as advertised with Sean Payton back, but the defense has been the real surprise this season. Rob Ryan's unit has given up the fifth least points in the league and ranks sixth in DVOA after historically bad numbers last season. That's probably not much comfort to Jay Cutler, who was sacked three times and threw three picks to the Lions in Week 4.

Watchability rank: 4

New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals

1 p.m. ET, CBS

Is this the week Rob Gronkowski comes back? We probably won't find out until Sunday morning, but the latest word is that he's looking at a Week 6 return. Either way, Tom Brady may have to make due without him for at least one more week. The Bengals were shut down by the Browns, and suddenly find themselves in a three-way tie for first place. The AFC North could be way more interesting than we thought.

Watchability rank: 3

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

1 p.m. ET, FOX

It's that time of year again, when columnists bring up the fact that the Lions haven't beat the Packers at Lambeau Field since 1991 and ask themselves, "Can they do it this year?" I'm not making predictions in these posts, but the Lions do look much improved from last season. Reggie Bush could give Green Bay fits. The Packers are already at 1-2 and will be desperate to keep pace in the NFC North. It should be an outstanding game.

Watchability rank: 5

Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts

1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Seahawks made a ridiculous comeback on the road against Houston with half of their offensive line starters out. Now they're getting Bruce Irvin back from suspension this week. The 10 a.m. PT start remains a concern, but Seattle has so far proven that they won't go down easy. Say, has anyone compared Andrew Luck to Russell Wilson yet? I don't think that will be a talking point at all during the broadcast.

Watchability rank: 5

Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins

1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Ravens had so much faith in their offensive line that they abandoned the running game and let Joe Flacco throw it 50 times against the Bills. That went about as well as you'd expect. Since then Baltimore traded for Eugene Monroe and vowed to get Ray Rice more involved in the offense. Speaking of offensive line woes, Ryan Tannehill has already been sacked 18 times this year and the defense sorely missed Cameron Wake in last week's beatdown to the Saints. I'm still not sure what to make of either team yet, so this gets a slight downgrade.

Watchability rank: 3

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants

1 p.m. ET, FOX

Thank God this isn't on primetime. One of two things will happen here:

  1. The Giants get their first win of the season, causing fans and media members to proclaim the season saved. The Philly camp spawns even more inane debate about whether Chip Kelly is a failure in the NFL, regardless of how the game went. Expect more rumors about Kelly heading to USC or Texas even though he's still show-caused.
  2. The Eagles win. Mass panic and looting in the New York area.

Either outcome will be absolutely hilarious to outside observers, so I give it a bump in my rankings.

Watchability rank: 2

Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams

1 p.m. ET, CBS

The unquestioned MVP of the Jaguars this season doesn't even play on the team. Can't hurt to give him a tryout at quarterback, though.

Watchability rank: 1

Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans

1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Titans' new and improved interior offensive line will get a big test against Dontari Poe this week. They're going to need to hold up. Jake Locker is out with a hip injury and Ryan Fitzpatrick only has a fraction of his running ability. Locker's injury throws a wrench into what's an otherwise compelling matchup between two surprising teams. Look for a low-scoring bruiser as both squads rely on their running games and defenses to grind out yards and clock.

Watchability rank: 3

Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals

4:05 p.m. ET, FOX

The Cardinals finally gave up on Levi Brown, trading him to the Steelers for a song. His replacement might not matter right now. The offensive line looks like the same sorry unit that kneecapped the Cardinals last season. Now they're going up against a ferocious Panthers front seven, with no running game to speak of and a passing offense that relies on deep, vertical routes. Sounds fun.

Watchability rank: 2

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

If you need a refresher on all the records the Broncos set this season, here they are. It's a pretty big list. I'm not sure the Cowboys can keep up with them after giving up 401 passing yards to Philip Rivers. The game could get out of hand early, but it's the only national game on the late afternoon slot. We have no choice but to watch.

Watchability rank: 3

Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers

8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

San Francisco got a much-needed 10-day rest after throttling the Rams last Thursday. Houston spent the week turning Matt Schaub into an overnight villain, burning his jersey outside the stadium, naming burger specials after his pick six to Richard Sherman and making him delete his Twitter account. Yet, Schaub is still the best quarterback in Texans history, because that's the kind of history Texans quarterbacks have had. What a world we live in.

Watchability rank: 4

San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

11:35 p.m. ET, NFL Network

This game got moved to late night due to a scheduling conflict with the A's playoff series. It will be televised on NFL Network, but is still using the CBS production crew. Most of the East Coast will be asleep before kickoff even starts, and I have a feeling some West Coasters will start nodding off during the third quarter.

Watchability rank: 1

New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons

8:40 p.m. ET, CBS

Four games in and Rex Ryan has already had to tell reporters he's not benching Geno Smith. Those questions have come up after Smith committed 11 turnovers, but the Jets don't exactly have any better options behind him. He at least gets a breather against an injury-plagued Falcons defense this week. Whether he can keep up with Atlanta's explosive offense is another matter altogether.

Watchability rank: 2

More from SB Nation NFL:

NFL Week 5 picks: Can the Packers, Texans rebound?

Eugene Monroe traded to Ravens | Steelers get Levi Brown

Fumblr: Just shut up, Cris Collinsworth

NFL power rankings: Saints go marchin’

Muth: How Seattle's defense keeps opponent's guessing

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